A positive tradition to be renewed The seventh round of the Formula 1 World Championship takes place at the Istanbul Park circuit, just outside the Turkish city. A relatively new venue, it is an appointment that Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro looks...
A positive tradition to be renewed
The seventh round of the Formula 1 World Championship takes place at the Istanbul Park circuit, just outside the Turkish city. A relatively new venue, it is an appointment that Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro looks forward to, given that a Prancing Horse car has been first past the chequered flag three times out of a total of the five Turkish Grands Prix held to date. Those wins were the result of a hat-trick for Felipe Massa, with consecutive victories from 2006 to 2008. Fernando Alonso has also been a frequent visitor to the podium here, finishing second in 2005 and 2006, with a third place in 2007.
The logistical challenge which faced all the teams in dealing with the very tight schedule at the start of the European season, having the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix take place back to back, has not ended yet. Although the Turkish event is considered part of the European leg of the championship and the paddock features all the motorhomes and trucks associated with this part of the calendar, the distance to Istanbul from Maranello and indeed from all the team bases is very long, so that the most efficient method of getting there is by sea transportation from the port of Trieste on Italy's east coast, with the shipment leaving there last Saturday, a couple of days earlier than usual. The task of preparing for the following race will also have to be fitted into a short space of time as the next challenge is that, this year, the next round is outside Europe in Canada. All the equipment will be back in Maranello on the Wednesday after the Turkish Grand Prix and, just two days later, the cars and equipment boxes will be on a flight bound for Montreal, to join the non-technical equipment sent out by sea a few weeks ago. Only after the race in Quebec will the logistics department be able to pause for breath. At least the Icelandic volcano, which has disrupted so many F1 travel plans, seems to be behaving itself for the time being!
Having opted not to run the blown rear wing on the low-speed streets of Monaco, the device will make a return in Turkey and Friday's free practice session will be used to evaluate a new management system for this wing, although its actual structure remains unchanged. The aim of the change is to make it more user-friendly for the drivers. Generally, the characteristics of the track, which runs anti-clockwise, should suit the car well. Bridgestone is bringing its Soft and Hard compounds, which theoretically have not been best suited to the F10, but much work has been done in this area to improve the situation and make the car competitive whatever tyre choice is available. One can also expect higher temperatures this weekend than was the case in Barcelona, the last time this combination of tyres was on offer.
The 5.338 km track is considered to be one of the most challenging of the new generation of circuits, offering a good mix of low, medium and high speed corners with a couple of genuine overtaking opportunities. The stand-out corner is Turn 8, which is effectively four left hand turns all strung together. The lateral G-forces at this challenging corner are probably the highest the drivers experience anywhere on the F1 calendar, with the fact the track is anti-clockwise putting an extra strain on neck muscles, more used to going the other way round. Additionally, this year's refuelling ban will involve manhandling a very heavy car through the turn in the opening stages of the 58 lap race. Whatever the outcome in terms of the final result for Felipe and Fernando, the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix will be a very special date to inscribe in the Ferrari history book, as this Sunday's race will be the eight hundredth Formula 1 Grand Prix in which a Prancing Horse car has taken part, the first one being the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix.